Nautical Star





Do you know what it’s like having to take selfies with the camera poised precariously on a jagged rock in front of you in the howling wind while tourists walk by? Neither do I, because my photographer Michael took these photos. Hurdur.

I’ll be filling in my readers about my adventure in the Sunshine Coast with the boy later on (it’s not like I’ve been slacking that much, these photos are only.. two weeks late..), but I’ve been totally itching to show off some nice photos of the gorgeous bathing suit that I bought a couple of years prior to this trip. (The matching canvas beach bag was a nice little addition from AliExpress that only cost me $4.80!)

So let me tell you.

I’m sick of bikinis, ladies. I’m a frolicker–I sprint, I chase, I bomb-dive, I body-surf and flap my arms wildly about in the water. The last thing I need is some sense of paranoia in the back of my head that my breasts will suddenly vacate their premises and reveal their full glory in front of other swimmers. There are enough shameless boobs on the beach as there is (and by “boobs”, I mean the idiots who throw glass beer bottles onto the rocks that small children are climbing on.. come on, guys). 

Being a fan of more classic-looking styles when it comes to my swimwear (yet I’m not really a fan of high-waisted bikinis in that regard–they look like grandma’s panties to me), I picked out a nautically-themed swimsuit on eBay with a low-dipping back and won it in an auction for $16. When it arrived, bless the seller’s cotton socks, for it also came with a matching detachable skirt! I had heart palpitations, ladies.

The brand of this suit is Sanqi, and I would say it’s a pretty trustworthy swimsuit manufacturer. You don’t want cheap garbage for what is essentially sportswear that’s meant to be soaked and tugged and put under pressure–unlike most of the cheapo clothing I can get away with wearing on a daily basis because I don’t put much pressure on them to perform. The two best brands of cheap Asian swimwear I can recommend is Sanqi and Yingfa–their stuff is lined, durable, and colourfast. I also bought another athletic swimsuit to wear during dips in chlorinated pools from Yingfa and that was when I actually found out that Yingfa is the same brand of swimwear that the Australian olympic diving team relies on! So they’re not your generic Chinese garbage by any stretch.

While my skirted swimsuit probably isn’t being manufactured anymore, the original eBay seller Dance.Shark has many other swimsuits that I’m currently lemming–all of them for under $30 each!



1. Yingfa Green Leaves Swimsuit, $18 (Also a red variety somewhere)

2. Sanqi Swimdress, $26.50 (Also available in purple.. I can’t decide)

3. Sportz POW Swimsuit, $20

4&5. Floral Swimsuit, $24

There are hundreds of different varieties of swimwear in the Dance.Shark store, so take a peek! There are some really gorgeous bikinis in there too if you’re personally more into them than one-pieces. (They also sell male swimwear and goggles, caps, etc, but I figured that the majority of my readership is female so I only linked to the female side of the store.)

Before I go, I’ll leave my readers with a question I’ve been pondering recently–do you personally prefer bikinis, tankinis, or one-pieces, and why?

New at Novo



  

If you’re in the neighborhood at Westfield Carindale any time soon, make sure you drop in at Novo shoes before they’ve finished renovating. No matter what budget you’re working with, there’s something in this store for you.

If you’re okay with synthetic shoes and you’re a frequent shopper at shoe stores like Rubi, no doubt you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the stock you’ll find here. While the majority of stuff is made from a synthetic base, some shoes (often with the “leather” symbol etched into the insole) have leather linings, and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll score like I did when I went in there yesterday.

 

I don’t want to brag (okay, I kinda do), but I found these shoes at the front of the store in the pile to the left buried under a mountain of pleather. If you’re particularly observant, you’ll see another pair peeking out of the pile in the second image of this post. Even as a first-class frugalista, I gotta tell you, it’s not often that you score a pair of cherry-red patent flats in your size with leather uppers and linings for $7.50. There’s two more left, in a size 8 and a size 6, for anyone who was looking for a nice little Winter staple.

They must have at least 100 different styles of shoes in there. From flats to heels to sandals to espadrilles to wedges to stilettos to chunky heels to thongs to those hideous sneaker wedges I was talking about in a previous post (try saying that five times out loud). While nothing particularly piqued my interest asides from these flats and maybe a gorgeous pair of rose gold stilettos for the same price (but seriously, what does one even wear with rose gold shoes??), I’m considering dropping by again sometime soon to see if they’ve rotated any new stock in. The sale has been going on for a while and they seem to be discounting frequently and bringing more styles in as time goes on, so it’s definitely something to keep your eye on.

Normally, I wouldn’t be promoting these guys because of the dreadful state of the last shoes I bought from them after four wears (those bow-topped shoes from one of my lookbook posts? The heels on those shoes are obliterated after some mild walking, I don’t think I could have damaged them more if they were made out of cheddar cheese), but these sales defy all common sense. No doubt they buy from a foreign wholesaler and I’ve heard good things about them in the past, so I’m putting down my mistake of a purchase as an error in judgement as far as that’s concerned, but not a good enough reason to write off the entire brand.

Besides that, with shoes starting from $5, what have you got to lose, really?

Drumroll, Please…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations, Jharna and Miss D!

Main prize pool winner Jharna (Baking Myself Happy) will receive all of the above prizes, and runner up Miss D (Miss Directions) is going to receive her very own framed and autographed (just joking, ha) illustration! Yaaaayy!

What an amazing giveaway! I received over 50 new “likes” to Carbon Chic during that period and gained so much intel about my readers–it was absolutely fabulous and I hope you guys had fun entering. There will definitely be more contests and giveaways in the future, so look out, frugalistas!

I have to admit though, this giveaway wasn’t entirely unselfish on my part.

Some of you will remember the optional entry you could get that involved commenting on the post and answering a question–I was doing a little market research on what you guys like reading about most! (I’m so sneaky) Sometimes I get too ahead of myself and make assumptions that readers don’t want to hear about certain things I’ve got going on, but you guys really proved turned that theory on its head. It was absolutely invaluable hearing back from all of you who commented to tell me what posts you enjoy the most because it just gives me more motivation to keep coming out with those posts. I would have no fun whatsoever with this blog without engagement from all of you, and every single one of my entrants have just given Carbon Chic a great big ego boost. Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing, and here’s the results from my giveaway poll:

Carbon Copies are by far your favorite topic on Carbon Chic! Second to that, lots of you would love to see me get my hands dirty and do some more crafty DIYs, which I have promised myself I would get into more during 2013, so look out! More updates on sales and more outfit posts came in equal third, and I will endeavor to provide you with heaps of material over the next coming months. For those who haven’t already, subscribing to my Instagram and/or Twitter account (click on the relevant social media buttons to the left of this post) will probably be of most use to you when it comes to sales, as unless I find something truly amazing, most of my mini sale purchases or findings will be posted up through my social media connections instead of directly on the blog itself.

With all those ideas aside, a particularly interesting suggestion came to me via Joan from J’adore L’amour who mentioned using my illustrations throughout my blog posts. After seeing bloggers like The Sea of Fertility coupling illustrations with every outfit post, I was almost inspired to do the same many times before, but I wasn’t sure how it would be received or if there was even a point. Of course, my illustration style is also definitely a bit clinical so I was worried about that aspect, as well, in regards to how they’d turn out.

But what do you think about it, frugalistas? Interesting idea or fanciful fad?

Flat Out at Target

Do you know there’s an actual website where you can type in a word and it automatically generates a pun around that word for you? This unimaginative mind has started to resort to sneaky, underhanded tactics for the titles of her posts, you should know. So, back on-topic..

It’s not rare to find an amazing bargain in Target. Quite the opposite in fact–for the savvy shoppers out there, you’ll undoubtedly run into a plethora of good-quality clothing at discounted prices within those bright, shiny walls of Target Australia, and the treasure I’ve uncovered there only a few weeks ago is certainly nothing to sneer at.

Flats! Those good ol’ genuine (buttery) leather ballet flats. To say they’re simply amazing is an understatement–it’s gotten to the stage where it’s becoming difficult to construct an outfit post because these babies are featuring in all my recent outfit choices. I really don’t want to be that blogger who wears the same old shoes, handbag or.. er, hat with every outfit post, so my readership has had to go without for a few weeks. So now you’ll know the reason why–Target, you have ruined my blog forever with your cozy, comfortable, casual shoes.

To you, they’re the same old boring ballet flats that everyone else wears, but to me, they’re miracle shoes. I’ve made it no secret my dislike of cheap, flimsy, synthetic ballet flats sold at every low-grade department store or boutique alike. They give your feet blisters, they make your feet sweat, and they simply look horrible! I don’t know about you, but to me, some of the flat shoes out there are the ugliest creations known to man, and make a part of a person’s anatomy that isn’t all that beautiful to begin with appear even worse.

The really cheap and nasty ones will make your ankles roll inwards, worsening a problem I see in people almost every day (flat feet!), and are even often built with the inner arch side of the shoe as open and flattened out as possible to actually cater towards the people who have foot problems from wearing those shoes. Not to mention absolutely no coverage or support whatsoever around the widest part of the foot, resulting in your foot spilling over the edge of the shoe, and the ever-popular toe cleavage that makes your foot like it’s being squashed into not only a cheap-looking shoe, but a cheap-looking shoe that is 4 sizes too small.

If you think I’m ranting unnecessarily, let me justify myself–up until a few weeks ago, flats just really bothered me! Because of their awful construction, I always felt like I was waddling instead of walking in them, I’ve never really felt elegant or damsel-like in them, and as such never even bothered looking at shoes that had less than an inch of heel in the back. They were ugly, uncomfortable, and utterly impossible! Give me a pair of 4-inch stilettos any day over a pair of flats! That all changed when I was introduced to these babies.

Leather from the inside and out. This is bad news for you vegans out there, but nothing feels better than a pair of soft leather shoes caressing your feet as you walk. I was as surprised by the materials of this shoe almost as much as I was surprised by the current price–$24.80! I have no idea what made these shoes so discounted; they’re utterly amazing and I’ve worn the black pair below no less than 40 times since I bought them and yet they still look brand new. In such a classic style, in two classic colours–shoes that really do go with everything–I couldn’t resist buying another pair in nude and another in black after my initial purchase.

And look–no toe cleavage or spilling over or rolled ankles!

 

You’ll find the black pair and the nude pair on the Target website for a little more than I paid in-store ($29.88), but they’re still a good buy if you can’t find them in-stores (saves you the bus trip, too, you can click and collect for free and pick them up the next time you happen to be in the neighborhood). Even my mother, the original frugalista herself, jumped on the bandwagon and bought two black pairs, urging me to buy as many as I could in-store because in her (translated) words, “All-leather shoes for $25 that look great and fit perfectly is nothing to sneeze at, my dear“.

Stalkthis

As any follower of Carbon Chic will know, I’m always touting that trite saying “patience is a virtue”. When I find something I want to buy that’s just out of my price range, I watch it like a hawk, closely monitor their stock levels (this is both online and in-stores, folks), then feel my heart drop into my bowels when the item goes out of stock unexpectedly, and then that rush of euphoria when the item comes back into stock. I didn’t actually realise how useful an app that could monitor all this for me would be until I came across it earlier this month, and I haven’t stopped using it since.

Here’s a quick video in a cute ocker accent describing the main features of Stalkthis:

For the lazy ones, Stalkthis is a browser application that allows you to save items from a large selection of your favorite stores onto a stalklist and then notifies you via email (or even SMS!) when those saved items go on sale. I had to read the description twice before it sunk in how amazing such a feature would be for future shopping/stalking.

An additional and equally as interesting feature that is currently being implemented is the ability to track low and sold out statuses of items you’re watching, which will definitely take a load off my shoulders!

Here’s a quick rundown on how to use this fabulous app:

1. Once you’ve dragged their little widget into the bookmark bar, you navigate to the particular page of the item you want to stalk and click on it.

2. The Stalkthis app will load up and give you a list of options. I pick the thumbnail that is most appropriate for the item so I don’t forget what it is.

3. You can then elect if you want to be notified of any changes to the price whatsoever, or if you’d like it to drop a certain amount before you’re notified.

4. Leaving this option as-is will put your item in an uncategorized folder, but I like to have a well-organized stalklist, so I categorize my victims by store name.

5. ..And you’re done! You can continue shopping now.

It’s currently in the beta stage of testing which means it’s not 100% finished, but it still works a charm at its most basic level and the developers seem very, very open to new input and fresh ideas from their users. Their list of retailers at the moment is huge, and still growing, and covers all the basic places I shop; including The Iconic, Target(AU), AliExpress, eBay, and ASOS. You will find their huge list of compatible stores here, and if you don’t find your favorite there, tell them(!) and they’ll add it to their to-do list for sure.

For one example, trying to add items from AliExpress was initially impossible, but within half an hour of my attempt, they emailed me (it was quite a pleasant surprise) with a notification that they were adding AliExpress to their list of online stores you can stalk! They’ve currently upgraded my status to “Featured Stalker”, which is honestly quite fun and so lovely of them, despite the sudden realisation that some of my more shady fashion decisions would be thrust into the public eye.. You can find my lists here, but I’m entrusting you with this information under the conditions that all the items are mine and you are not allowed to buy them, especially in cases of low stock numbers in my particular size. Okay? Okay.

(I’m just kidding.. or am I?)

I’m super excited about this web app, if you can’t tell, and the added sophistication of low stock and sold out notifications will really be the icing on the cake once it’s released and give me even more incentive to use the site for stuff that I’m not even particular waiting for to go on sale.

Are there any features you’d like to see in an app like this? Leave a comment below or even email them to share–they seem to have a very open and empathetic team who are just itching to make this app the best it can be. One particular modification I would love to see is a browser plugin instead of something to put in my bookmarks bar–my bookmarks bar is very full at the moment and it would be nice to keep my browser as streamlined as possible. Something like the Pinterest plugin below:

So that’s about it! While it’s still in the beta stage, give it a try, frugalistas, you won’t be disappointed! Click here to find out more: